Too many mothers and fathers think they are good parents if their children like them. Nothing could be further from the truth! Of course we want our children to like us, but it is more important that they respect us. You know kids can love parents without liking them, right? Not always getting their way will cause children to think like this. Do the right things for your kids by never taking the easy way out of a situation. They will love you even more when they realize you gave them good advice and wise mentoring at a time they didn’t think you were that smart.
Respect and influence as a parent comes about when you:
1. Show genuine interest in them. Know their fears, joys, and interests. Know their friends. Check in on them often and ask how they are doing. Encourage them when they need a push and reign them if they going in the wrong direction. Let them know you care!
2. Smile. When you smile, you are approachable. Parents should be always be approachable! Don’t be a grouch. Don’t take your aggravations out on your kids. Lighten up! Be fun to be around.
3. Use their name. Address them by their preferred name. Don’t call them Robert if they like to be called Bobby. Never ever call them ‘stupid’ or ‘brat’! Be courteous with them. Saying, “Hey! Get over here!” does not sound respectful nor does it create cooperation. More preferable is saying, “Jimmy, can you come here a second?”
4. Be a good listener. This is not only showing interest in them, it tells them they are important enough for your time. Every occasion your children speak, you are learning something about them. Try to see things from their point of view. If they are little, get down to their level. It’s not always easy to pay attention when you are busy. But do what you can to let them understand you are listening or will listen when you get home or finish a task.
5. Talk about their interests. Ballet, baseball, school, friends—whatever their interests are is what will help you to communicate with them. When you ask them general questions, they may give one word answers, but specific questions about their interests may help to get the conversation going. Remember to encourage them to do their best in their endeavors and be a cheerleader.
6. Make them feel important. Self-confidence comes from a feeling of belonging. When your kids feel important, it helps their self-esteem. They will feel important if you show interest in them and listen. But there is a fine line between allowing them to feel important and putting them on a pedestal. They shouldn’t be above anyone. Any signs of their nose in the air or chest puffed out too far and you may need to do an attitude adjustment.
A couple of other points not mentioned by Mr. Carnegie. Try to inform our kids of the rules, limits, and rewards, and always do what say you will do. This includes those promised rewards--and consequences if rules are broken. If you don’t, your children will lose respect for your authority and your influence will diminish. Of course, there are times things get out of your control and you cannot keep a promise. When this happens, be sure to explain the details to your child.
- Tell your children right from wrong, and they will know right from wrong.
- Tell them how, and they will know how.
- Tell them where, and they can go there.
- Tell them when, and they can do it then.
- Tell them who, and they will know who.
- Tell them why, and they will do ‘it’ with confidence and enthusiasm.
- Sometimes there’s not enough time, or it’s the wrong time to explain why this or that, but do it later.
There is much more to Dale Carnegie’s book. I highly suggest you read it--and have your children read it when they are in their late teens, early twenties.